6 Top Secrets to Successful Property Management
Mar 18, 2023
Whether you own a portfolio of commercial office buildings or a 4-unit apartment building, managing your properties successfully requires serious dedication and savvy business skills. From ensuring your tenant vacancy rate is low to keeping landscaping and structures in good repair, we have the top six secrets that successful property managers rely on to increase revenue and tenant happiness.
Tip #1: First Impressions Start Outside
Starting our list of tips is maintaining your property’s overall curb appeal. When clients, prospective lessors, and visitors drive up to your building, what impression does it give? Modern and maintained or dingy and obsolete? Your landscape and exterior features will be the first glimpse of what your property has to offer, and it has faded siding, stained sidewalks, a lot full of potholes, and overgrown trees and shrubs, you’ll have a hard time convincing anyone to sign a lease.
Combat these issues by working with a landscaper to update your foliage and flower beds to better frame your building. Hire a window washing company to keep your entranceways and building’s exterior sparkling. Investing in a freshly paved lot and updated walkways can go a long way in impressing visitors and preventing dangerous walking conditions. Contract with a commercial paving company to give your parking area a much-needed makeover. Once updated, regularly maintain these areas to keep their curb appeal fresh and inviting.
Tip #2: Deal with Repairs Early
Repairs are bound to happen when managing a commercial property, many of which you could catch early if you regularly inspect your grounds and building for issues. Much like a health problem, however, the longer you procrastinate treating it, the worse it will get. This means a higher repair cost and longer periods of inconvenience for your tenants. So, if you spot a maintenance issue, handle it right away.
Taking a proactive approach will also build loyalty with your tenants who are often a great resource for lead generation when new units come open.
Tip #3: You Need an Outstanding Management Team
Even if you own a single commercial property, managing it requires wearing many hats, some of which you may need more time to put on daily. However, overloading yourself with responsibility can actually be a detriment to your management efforts, so feel free to delegate some of this work.
Successful property managers have a team of knowledgeable professionals at their disposal to help with duties like accounting, lease creation, sales, and maintenance. Providing a dedicated team member for these areas (depending on the size of your real estate portfolio), ensures these aspects of your business get laser-sharp focus. In return, your property is better cared for, marketed, and leased. In addition, your tenants will appreciate having stellar customer service from your dedicated leasing time, which will nurture their relationship with your firm, making it less likely they’ll pull up roots and go elsewhere when an issue arises.
Tip #4: Upgrades are Key to Profitability
On the business side of property management, upgrading your buildings will always be a smart move. Investments in modernization are especially wise because it helps keep your facilities up-to-date with the current trends that tenants expect in a rental. A great example would be installing tankless water heaters or LED lighting in your buildings. This will save your lessors quite a bit on their utility costs and add the appeal of conservation to your property’s resume.
Any upgrades you invest in that can reduce your clients’ overhead while running their business will always produce a decent ROI. This includes incorporating newer technologies your competitors don’t offer, such as conference rooms with touchscreen whiteboards, smart thermostats, VoIP phone capabilities, WiFi, and more.
You should also upgrade common areas indoors and out to help employees kick back and destress during break times. If you provide appliances, consider installing refrigerators with water and ice dispensers built in. These little conveniences go a long way in getting leases signed and renewed later, which means a lower vacancy rate.
Tip #5: Premises Injuries are Often Preventable
It’s not just business owners who are liable for employee injuries in the workplace. As a property manager, you have an obligation to keep your premises free of hazards. Staying on top of maintenance, no matter how minor, is key to preventing your company from being involved in a third-party premises liability claim that could cost hundreds of thousands in medical damages and legal fees defending you.
It’s recommended that you have several inspection checklists for different times of the year to assess the condition of your property. This is especially important if you live in a region that is prone to severe weather events, like hurricanes and flooding. The smallest leak can quickly turn into a mold problem, so regular assessment of your roof, gutters, and foundation is essential before these stormy seasons start. Also, while you would hope a tenant might let you know, they aren’t maintenance professionals and might need to recognize there is an issue.
Tip #6: Effective Property Management Requires Efficiency
Property management has many working parts, often simultaneously pulling your team’s attention in different directions. This can cause workflow bottlenecks, imbalanced workloads, and a lot of frustration for your staff and tenants. One of the best ways to help you juggle these responsibilities is through the use of technology. A popular solution is implementing a centralized management software that brings all your communication, billing, and tenant data under a single platform.
Consider a solution that provides mobile access so that you and your staff are always connected and aware of what’s happening on your property. For your tenants, consider having an online portal they can log in from their preferred device (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) and can easily review their lease information, pay their rent, and submit repair requests. This self-service option will save your team hours normally spent on phone calls and emails.
At the end of the day, the best-kept secret about managing commercial property is that taking a tenant-focused approach will improve every aspect of your business strategy. The ROI of regularly maintaining and upgrading your property is indisputable. Increasing efficiency and accessibility to your services means this return can be realized even sooner.